Baijiu: How A Chinese Drink Became World's Most Consumed Spirit
Image Credit: Baijiu | Image Credit: Google

The world's most popular spirit is not vodka or whisky, but a Chinese spirit called Baijiu. This is made from fermented sorghum and contains ethanol at varying levels, which then gives it its characteristic taste. So, let’s get this party started and tell you all about baijiu and why it is becoming so popular worldwide.

What is Baijiu?

The fermented beverage in question is also known as Shaoxing wine and is a type of Chinese liquor produced from sorghum and koji, a yeast. It is usually a clear, light-amber-colored liquor that has a floral, mellow fragrance and a slightly sweet taste that makes it very drinkable. The taste of baijiu is a bit like that of a dry white wine. The alcohol content is usually between 15% and 30%, although there are some varieties that are stronger, such as the one called "Sanjiu," which has an astounding 47% alcohol content.

The Story of Baijiu: From China to the World

Baijiu is a very old Chinese drink that has become popular all over the world. When the Han Dynasty was established in China, they made a drink from fermented sorghum, which gave the liquor its present name of "jiu," which means "flow," and "bai," which means "white" in Chinese. In other words, the word "baijiu" simply means "white liquor."

During the Tang Dynasty, the liquor became very popular and was exported as well. People in Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries bought the liquor, and it became popular there. The baijiu liquor industry then went under during the Yuan Dynasty when the government banned the liquor due to its popularity. However, in the early Republican Period, the baijiu industry once again prospered.

Where to Buy Baijiu?

Baijiu is made in many parts of China, with the best being in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, and Shaoxing, on China’s eastern coast. There are also many types of baijiu produced in other parts of Asia, including Korea and Japan, as well as in North America and Europe.

How to drink it

The best way to get your hands on some of this liquor is to visit China and drink it there. And if you want to enjoy it at home, you can easily buy it online. You can also try it mixed with some soda or beer to create a refreshing cocktail that anyone would enjoy. Baijiu is usually given to guests in small shot glasses, which is a traditional way to do things in China.

Because of its fresh, fruity flavor and its low alcohol content, it is a great drink for all occasions. You can also try mixing it with some soda or beer to create a refreshing cocktail that anyone would enjoy. Some of the most popular types of baijiu are those made from sorghum, those from mulberry, and those that are distilled from honey.

Different types of Baijiu

1.    Rice Aroma Baijiu

There are four classes of Baijiu, rice-aroma Baijiu being one of them. This baijiu is from China's southern provinces. It is a little bit sweeter and lighter in flavor. The rice-aroma Baijius are not the higher-end Baijius. To make this baijiu, people use glutinous rice, which is mellow and sweeter to taste. Lao Guilin and Guilin Sanhua Jiu are two popular baijius that utilize this rice. Certain rice-aroma Baijius are classified as either white spirits (baijiu) or yellow spirits (huangjiu).In contrast to the strong and sauce-like Baijius, most rice-flavored Baijiu is produced in southern China, and it is quite difficult to find it outside of that region.

2.    Light Aroma Baijiu

In the northern part of China, around Beijing, light-aroma baijiu is made. The leading brand is Red Star. Each light-aroma baijiu is made from sorghum rather than rice, hence the name. Despite their "light" aroma, these baijius have a high alcohol content. Certain light-aroma baijiu is bottled at 56% ABV, a percentage that makes even the strongest Scotch whisky look weak.

3.    Strong Aroma Baijiu

Strong-aroma baijiu is the kind that comes from Sichuan. These baijius are mostly produced from rice or sorghum as the base grain. These baijius are among the most prominent on the higher baijiu scale. Shui Jing Fang (a well-known strong-aroma baijiu) is created with sorghum and grain in addition to rice and sorghum, for example. Charles' HKB baijiu is a 5-grain baijiu made from rice, sticky rice, sorghum, corn, and wheat. It has a more complex flavor and aroma due to the variety of grains used.

4.    Sauce Aroma Baijiu

Some people say it smells like soy sauce, while others say it smells "complex." It's said this baijiu is less palatable to novices who are unfamiliar with its complexities and new flavors. Nevertheless, it is its own category. If you're feeling saucy, then you'll want to try this. To get 375 mL of the stuff, you'll have to pony up $160.